GRADE AVERSION

A passion for judging students is profound in schools. Experts write about how ” rewards and punishments ” are the only ways to get students to ” comply with the demands of adults ” and ” manipulate the behavior of someone. ” Grades are ” bribes and threats ” that promote ” mindless obedience. ” Professional organizations urge elementary schools to emphasize letter grades and stop comparing students with each other. Teacher college faculty members do not like the practice of selecting good students with academic awards. Only one-third of them regard recognition as valuable incentives for learning, such as honor rolls. ” I react very viscerally when you have a reward system, ” says a Chicago teacher in education. ” I don’t like hearing about a highly accomplished kid and doing things for stars in the classroom. ” The crowd against grade makes the usual arguments. Grades are bad for a sorting device. They set up a ranking system that violates the principle that all young people are equally worthy; who, after all, can really value the unique talents of one child over those of another? They are gatekeepers who retain some students by describing them as ” losers...

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